PositiveThe New York Review of Books... an elegiac environmental justice–oriented meditation on sea level rise .... Troubled by...inequities, Rush reveals why and where the sea is rising, who in our nation is affected, and what we might democratically do about it. She excels at redrawing our blurring edges—showing, for example, how the state of Louisiana no longer resembles a boot now that its sole is deteriorating ... Rising is an assemblage of vignettes: interviews with scientists, cautionary photographs of coastal ghost trees killed at the root by salinity, first-person testimonials by folks living in threatened wetlands, and accounts of the author’s travels to transforming shoreline communities ... Rising is also a treatise on language. Take the term resilient, which we apply to both people and the environment to describe strength. Rush glosses the word, considering how its meaning varies for people depending where on the shifting shore they stand ... \'Real resiliency might mean letting go of our image of the coastline, learning to leave the very places we have long considered necessary to our survival,\' Rush writes ... Rush focuses on the strategy of community-driven resettlement with government support. It is, she argues, the only approach with the appropriate humility and acknowledgment of the scale of the threat.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
RaveThe Washington PostAdichie is adept at describing her characters’ descent in dignity for the gambit of upward mobility … Ifemelu’s journey in America is informed by experiences of race that won’t seem new to black Americans, though they’re new to her. As an African, and more specifically, as a Nigerian Igbo, she’s not ‘black’ until she comes here … But beyond race, the book is about the immigrant’s quest: self-invention, which is the American subject. Americanah is unique among the booming canon of immigrant literature of the last generation. Its ultimate concern isn’t the challenge of becoming American or the hyphenation that requires, but the challenge of going back home.
PositiveBookforumMarlon James’s epic and dizzying third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is anything but brief and describes far more than seven killings … Based on actual events, [it] delineates strategies of war in a world of men—gang lords, hit men, politicians, and CIA agents, to name just a few … James is not the first to suggest that Marley, who had attained prophet status and seemed to support Manley’s increasingly socialist vision, became a target of CIA-backed JLP leaders...but to the best of my knowledge, Marlon James is the first to go at this historical moment through fiction. This allows him to get inside the heads of brutal people, to fill in the gaps left by historical research, and to find the humanity (and even humor) in the grimmest of situations … If the purpose of reportage is to tell us what happened, and the purpose of fiction is to show us how it felt, then James has succeeded on both counts.